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How delivering alcohol to an addict cost Murang’a messenger his life

On April 23 this year, Mr James Muturi Gathaiya got a Sh50 job to deliver a parcel to an address in Thika Greens Phase III Estate in Murang’a.

Gathaiya, 38, lived in a benefactor’s compound.

He had gone to spend the night at a nearby wine and liquor store when he was presented with the task of delivering a Sh350 Chrome vodka.

“He was with Mr. Gathaiya when the owner of the liquor store told him that a neighbor had placed an order over the phone for a 250 ml vodka,” says Mr. Frank Kiriinya.

He says that the owner of the liquor store knew that Mr. Gathaiya lived in that property and sent him to make the delivery for a fee.

“Mr. Gathaiya took the package and left around 6:30 p.m.,” Kiriinya says in an interview with Nation.Africa.

Edwinpark liquor store owner Moses Kimani confirmed that he sent Mr Gathaiya to deliver the package.

Make payment online

“Thika Greens residents usually place orders over the phone and pay online. They give me their addresses and I send motorcyclists to make deliveries,” explains Kimani.

“I offered Mr Gathaiya the chance to deliver the package and earn the 50 shillings as it was close to where he was staying,” he told the Nation.

But it would prove to be a deadly mission. The young man who had placed the order was a recovering addict. He had just been released from a rehab facility after battling addiction.

Gathaiya reportedly entered the compound carrying the liquor where he met the mother of the recovering addict.

Liquor store

According to witnesses, he handed the package to the woman and told her it was from the liquor store before all hell broke loose.

“The woman, upon unwrapping the package, discovered that it was alcohol. She screamed and caught the attention of the security guards who were guarding the entrance to the gated community,” says a guard at the property who requested anonymity.

The guard told him Nation.Africa that the young man’s mother ordered the guards to discipline Mr. Gathaiya.

“The bitter woman participated in the beating of Gathaiya while shouting that she had spent a fortune treating her son,” the guard said.

He claims they were paid to discipline Mr. Gathaiya, whom they knew. He also alleges that he called the family hosting Mr. Gathaiya when he realized things were getting out of hand.

Joyce Ndirangu explains that she took Gathaiya in 2018.

“He (Gathaiya) told me that he was an orphan from Nakuru who faced rejection from his relatives. I took him in as a helper on the farm. He was a disciplined, peaceful and religious man,” says Mrs Ndirangu.

She says she received a distressing call, asking her to rush to the Nyumba ya Mzungu location as Mr. Gathaiya was in trouble and sent his son to find out what was going on.

“My son called me moments later to inform me that the guards were very hostile and that Gathaiya urgently needed help,” he recalls.

His son said he watched helplessly from a distance as the beatings continued. The angry woman, according to him, was cursing all those people who expose people’s children to substance abuse.

After the beating, the guard claims, his colleagues put the victim in the woman’s car and abandoned her on a nearby road.

“Gathaiya was so weak that he fell headlong onto the road,” the guard says.

What happened after the wounded Gathaiya is unclear due to conflicting accounts. Some reports claim that a car deliberately hit him.

However, the woman at the center of the incident says she heard he was hit by a vehicle. The woman, who we cannot identify for legal reasons, claims police told her the victim died in a traffic accident.

“They punished him at my house for illegally selling alcohol in my complex. They let him go and I heard that he was hit by a vehicle,” he insists.

He adds that “you must identify with the pain of losing a child at the hands of those who sell poison and dare to take him while he is just coming out of rehab.”

Cause of death

A police vehicle transported the body to the General Kago Morgue, where the drama continued amid accusations of attempts to cover up the cause of death.

Kennedy Kimathi, who introduced himself as a friend of Gathaiya, says he went to the mortuary to identify the body.

“I found out that the police had ordered that no one be allowed to see the body unless they were in the company of officers or with a court order,” Kimathi says.

“An officer kept vigil at the mortuary and at one point declared that Gathaiya should be buried as soon as possible. The officer said she was willing to foot the bill for Gathaiya’s burial to ‘put the incident behind us,'” he said. claims.

Pathologist John Mathaiya, who performed a post-mortem examination on Gathaiya’s body on May 2, says his findings were classified for security reasons as confidential.

“As such, the findings can only be used in a judicial process and not before the public,” says Mathaiya.

According to an investigation report by the Gatanga Sub County Police, Nation.Africa Seen confidentially: “Mr Gathaiya, who has since been buried in Nakuru County, died in a road accident.”

The report does not mention anything to do with the job as a delivery driver, the assault at the woman’s house and the abandonment of the body, even after Kiriinya and Kimathi offered to record statements about the incident.

Murang’a County Commissioner Joshua Nkanatha says the security committee he chairs has received some information about the incident and has ordered a factual report to be provided to him as soon as possible.

Mr Nkanatha adds: “Officers have since been sent to verify the claims and all available witness statements will be recorded. I have also ordered that a copy of the post-mortem examination report be provided to us.”

He says the matter urgently requires a public inquiry to determine the circumstances under which Gathiya met his death.

“For that to happen, we must put pressure on the people. It is not in the government’s interest to cover up anyone. All those found guilty, including our uniformed officers, must bear the cross of justice,” Mr Nkanatha says.

And for the liquor seller who ‘sent Gathaiya to his death’, the incident will haunt him forever. Kimani says he received the news of the attack and his subsequent death with great sadness.

“Honestly, I did not know that the order came from an addict discharged from a rehabilitation center. If I had known, I would not have started labor. I feel regretful and guilty. My conscience has been pushed to the limit,” he says.

Kimani adds that he is willing to cooperate with investigations seeking justice for Gathaiya.

“He was the kind of man you couldn’t argue with. He was polite and to imagine that he died so violently breaks my spirit,” she says.

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